Full results from the first episode of the second season of WWE NXT, taped June 8th from Tampa, Florida:
- WWE Pro John Morrison and WWE Rookie Eli Cottonwood defeated WWE Pro Zack Ryder and WWE Rookie Titus O'Neil after Morrison hit Starship Pain on O'Neil.
- WWE Pro MVP and WWE Rookie Percy Watson defeated WWE Pro Cody Rhodes and WWE Rookie Husky Harris after Watson pinned Harris after a floatover-like DDT.
- The show opened with a different sort of recap from the carnage wrought by the NXT season one cast - just a few still shots of their path of rage with the ring dismantled, the desk flipped over, and the announcers laid out, without showing how it all happened. A very interesting and unique recap, again something different from a company suddenly interested in being different. I liked it.
- Matt Striker started the show by "selling" his injuries from the night before by occasionally grasping at his ribs while bringing up the season one rookies and their actions from the night before, questioning whether this season's rookies would do the same, before introducing the pros. Apparently, the pros will be sitting on stage all season, as they did during the last few weeks of season one, so already it looks like WWE is trying to get some consistency for NXT's second season, which is a good thing. Miz came out first, and introduced his rookie, Alex Riley, and each pro followed suit by introducing their rookies. Striker reminded the fans that they will make up 50% of the vote towards who is voted off, along with the weekly pro's poll. He also said that season two will be different, with only 12 weeks as opposed to the 15 weeks of season one (which I think is a good thing; season one almost felt like it was too long, and there were too many weeks where the show was treading water). The timeline was laid out from the start; in three weeks, there will be the first pro's poll, and in six weeks, the first elimination will take place. Striker let everybody know that action will start next, and Husky Harris let everybody know he was ready now, which led to a whole lot of pushing and shoving from the rookies.
- After commercial, Michael Cole explained what happened last night, with the first season rookies destroying John Cena, WWE staff, and the ringside area. The opening match wasn't very good. O'Neil and Cottonwood are both very green, and whenever they were in the ring together, it wasn't much. The match itself was quite short, despite taking place over a commercial break. Afterwards, Striker did an immediate post-match interview, with Morrison saying that Cottonwood held his own in the ring, and asked the fans what they thought, and they gave Cottonwood a good hand. Striker then asked the pros on the stage what they felt, with Miz saying he didn't find them very entertaining.
- It should be noted that it didn't sound like Savannah was doing the ring announcing on this show, but they did not announce who the new ring announcer was, so I don't know who it was, though it was a woman. Whomever it was had a very screechy voice.
- They did interview segments with several of the rookies, starting with Alex Riley. The Riley interview was very well done, doing a great job of getting over Riley's cocky privileged jock persona. This did a better job of getting over Riley's character than anything from season one with the exception of the initial David Otunga interview segments, at least before they overplayed them.
- The second tag team match was decent. Cole brought up at the start that on last night's Raw, Dusty Rhodes (father of Cody) had laid out IRS (father of Husky Harris) with some bionic elbows, making their partnership today interesting. No mention of the various teams made between Cody's dad and brother with Husky's grandfather and uncle, though. Watson was in for much of the match, but looked green at taking a long beating and keeping the crowd into it. He seemed to be very basic in what he did for the most part, and I can't imagine he's been down in FCW for very long. Harris looks like a guy who will eventually be a decent big man, but isn't necessarily there yet. At one point, Harris hit a very impressive looking running senton splash. After the match, Striker asked Rhodes about his rookie, and Rhodes said he reminded him of somebody from his own family and all of the fans, and that while MVP may be able to mold an already-great athlete like Percy Watson into a star, he was going to make the unathletic-looking Husky Harris into a bigger star. MVP put over his own rookie and his ability to get himself out of trouble.
- The second interview segment was with Michael McGillicutty, who acknowledged that he was the son of Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig and the grandson of Larry "The Ax" Hennig, though it was not explained why his last name was McGillicutty. He claimed he had royal blood. They showed clips of Mr. Perfect doing things like the snap mare and the Perfectplex, and his son doing the same moves, which was pretty cool. This wasn't as good as the Riley clips, but still pretty good. Would have been nice if we had more of a feel for McGillicutty afterwards, but I'm sure that will come with time.
- After commercial, they had the rookies and pros in the ring, the rookies on one side of the ring and the pros on the other half. They then showed the beating from last night on Raw featuring the season one NXT rookies. This continued to be awesome even a day later. Horray for the return of spontaneity on WWE TV, and horray for the return of heels that have heat! They spent the entire show showing stills from this promising that they would show the entire video later, and that made this very effective, building towards the big reveal for those who might have missed Raw last night.
- Striker asked the rookies for their thoughts on the footage. Kaval said that it was unbelievable that the rookies would do such a thing, but that was also a very effective way to make a statement in WWE. Lucky Cannon claimed it was cowardly, but again, it was a way to make a statement. Husky Harris said he didn't agree with their actions, but didn't care about it either, because he was here to win NXT. Alex Riley didn't answer the question, claiming to be allergic to Matt Striker, and Striker was clearly very annoyed by him. Percy Watson said that was not the way he'd fight, that if they have a problem with somebody they should fight man to man, which garnered Watson the first positive crowd response among those who responded. Eli Cottonwood claimed that Cena deserved every bit of what happened to him, turning the crowd against him. Titus O'Neil challenged the season one cast try to pull that with one of the season two cast members. Michael McGillicutty (who I noticed here has a lot of his dad's inflection in his voice) claimed that the season one cast made a huge impact last night, and that's all that matters in wrestling. Striker then closed things out by offering a welcome to the NXT rookies on behalf of all of those beaten up last night and all of the wrestlers in the back, after which the pros all attacked their own rookies, with even LayCool getting two slaps in on Kaval before bailing, with the idea that they were quelling any possible rebellion amongst the season two cast before it took place.
Last week, on Cageside Seats, I offered suggestions for WWE to make season two better and (hopefully) more viewed. Well, I didn't suggest "Have the season one cast lay out the top babyface the night before season two starts," and that was a better idea than anything I suggested. In one fell swoop, WWE made up for fifteen weeks of generally dropping the ball with the show and suddenly made everybody involved with the show important. I'm sure a lot of folks tuned into this week's show to see if there would be any follow-up with the season one cast, and while there wasn't anything immediate, at least WWE was able to introduce them to the second season and progress the season one storyline with the big beatdown at the end of the program. Plus, now that something big happened with the first season cast, folks who might not have checked out season two will want to keep up with the show in case anything big happens with this group of wrestlers so they aren't completely caught by surprise by these guys.
Overall, a good initial episode for the first season cast, even if it understandably paled in comparison to last night's big angle. While none of the rookies were particularly impressive this week, it's still early and the top two in-ring competitors (McGillcutty and Kaval) were both not in action..